During my resent research, I found this press release and report about the safety of minerals and vitamin supplements.
by Andrew W. Saul, Editor
(OMNS Jan 14, 2015) There were no deaths whatsoever from vitamins in the year 2013. The 31st annual report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers shows zero deaths from multiple vitamins. And, there were no deaths whatsoever from vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B-6, any other B-vitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, or any vitamin at all.
Zero deaths from vitamins. Want to bet this will never be on the evening news?
Prescription Meds Don’t Fare So Well
I wish prescription medications could claim the same excellent safety record as vitamins. Alas, in an average year, there are at least 106,000 deaths and over 450,000 adverse events reported due to prescription drugs
10. “What does ‘chelate’ or ‘chelated formulas’ mean when talking about vitamin and minerals? Is it important?”
“Chelated” minerals are among the mineral supplements touted for their improved absorption. The word, chelate (pronounced: key late) means to create a ring-like complex, or in loose terms ‘to grab and bond to’.
Most clelated formulas use protein molecules, i.e. chains of amino acids. The human body is very efficient at absorbing individual amino acids. (Amino acids are not the only “chelators” available, but they are ideal for minerals.)
For instance, the amino acid glycine is readily absorbed across the intestinal wall. When the glycine “grabs” and bonds with a Magnesium molecule, you’ve got Magnesium Glycinate. The idea is that the chelated Magnesium doesn’t break down in the digestive process. Instead it is easily absorbed, because it gets carried to your cells bound to the amino acid.
Don’t confuse with “Chelation Therapy”—treatment for removing heavy metals (including mercury) from the blood.
Are Chelated Minerals Better for Absorption?
In the nutritional supplement industry, many claims are made for the superior absorption of certain, sometimes proprietary, mineral formulations. Drug stores and supermarkets, for example, sell chelated calcium and iron pills that are advertised to be absorbed better than cheaper non-chelated minerals.
[The foremost proponent of the superiority of true mineral amino acid chelates, is Albion Laboratories of Clearfield, Utah, which develops, patents, and markets these chelates as ingredients for dietary supplements and fortified foods.]
But according to a WebMD.com post, Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Chelated Minerals:
“Promoters sometimes market chelated minerals as dietary supplements that are superior to other mineral supplements, claiming chelated minerals are used more easily by the body (more bioavailable) than non-chelated minerals. But there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, there is very little scientific information about chelated minerals.”
Sports medicine doctor and fitness guru, Dr. Gabe Mirkin agrees.
“You can get all the minerals that you need from a varied diet, but if you want to take extra minerals, Chelated minerals offer no advantage over non-chelated ones.”
In this post entitled, Chelated Minerals Not Better, Dr. Mirkin goes on to explain that once a non-chelated mineral is in your intestines, it naturally will chelate or bind to parts of food—in fact, to almost everything that you eat, such as organic acids like citric acid in fruits, sugars like those found in milk, and amino acids like those found in any protein source that you eat.
What’s in Your Stomach Determines Mineral Absorption
Mineral absorption depends on what is in your stomach and intestines when you eat the mineral. One mineral can affect the absorption of another (in a good way, or a bad way). For example:
• Fat increases and fiber decreases mineral absorption.
• Vitamin C will significantly increase the absorption of iron from plant foods.
• Taking calcium with iron together reduces absorption of both minerals.
• Taking large amounts of zinc markedly inhibits copper absorption.
Chelation or lack of chelation is insignificant compared to the variable conditions in your digestive system, according to Dr. Mirkin.
Last updated: Friday, August 28, 2015
Return to FAQ Minerals and Supplements
FAQ Minerals Deficiencies: Reliable Research
9. “Where can I find reliable, unbiased research and information on specific vitamins and supplements? (I want an independent resource, not some site trying to sell me their products.)”
We agree that the most reliable information is from unbiased sites—often the best are non-commercial sites.
We’ve looked at many, many informational directories. In order to sort out the lightweights, we searched each for information on the same supplement, ‘Nattokinase’ (an enzyme produced from Japanese soybeans with properties to break down fibrin which is what forms blood clots).
As we suspected, many directories had no entry for Nattokinase at all, so they were easy to eliminate.
Our Favorite Independent Resources on Vitamins and Supplements
Three searchable databases rose to the top of the list. In order of preference, here are our favorites:
1. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute/Integrative Medicine: “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products”
2. Drugs.com: ‘MedFacts Natural Products Professional database’
3. The ‘Dietary Supplement Label Database’ at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
No Sales Pitch Just Information
None of the three sell supplements (or anything else). They just offer information on vitamins, herbs, natural products and supplements. In our review of each database, we’ve included a screen shot and a link to our ‘Nattokinase’ test search result.
The extensive database covering vitamins and supplements is listed under “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products“.
Note: Memorial Sloan Kettering is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, and integrates effective non-pharmacologic therapies into mainstream patient care.
Example: click to see listing for ‘Nattokinase‘
How to Search: Go to ‘Search About Herbs‘ (we found vitamins and minerals, too.) After first agreeing to the disclaimer, the gatekeeper opens to the top level of the directory organized by letters of the alphabet. Click on the initial letter of your search word, then select from the listed terms.
Each entry has two tabs: information targeted for consumers or for healthcare professionals; Included is a clinical summary, food sources, purported uses, mechanism of action, warnings, contraindications, adverse reactions, herb-drug interactions, literature summary and references.
2. Drugs.com. The ‘MedFacts Natural Products Professional Database‘
The ‘MedFacts Natural Products Professional database‘ is located at Drugs.com, a comprehensive website with information on traditional and/or conventional uses of natural products.
Note: Drugs.com is NOT an online pharmacy. It’s aim is to be the Internet’s most trusted resource for drug and related health information.
How to Search: Go to Drugs.com/MedFacts Natural Products; from the horizontal menu, click on the ‘Health Professionals‘ tab, then select ‘Natural Products Database’ and enter your search word. (Skip over the ‘Drugs A-Z’ tab; it lists only prescription meds). A few of the items include a clinical summary, food sources, uses, warnings, adverse reactions, literature review and references.
You can also use the Search box in the page header to bring up articles and discussions containing your search word.
3. Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD), US National Institutes of Health
To find all the label info, dietary facts, and dosage for a specific brand and product, we like the ‘Dietary Supplement Label Database‘. The DSLD includes the full label information from all of the dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. Here you can look up a product by Brand Name and read the dosage information.
Note: the DSLD is a joint project of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
How to Search: Start on the DSLF Index home page; to find information on a specific brand and product, click on ‘Browse Products‘. Enter the Brand name in the search field, then scroll through the results to find the product your want.
There are several other types of searches listed on the Index home page, so explore.
Keep in Mind: The Supplements Industry is Not Regulated
In the US, supplements are not regulated by the FDA (or any other government agency). Quality and potency will vary. So, it’s up to you to find reliable, unbiased information to evaluate the vitamins, minerals, herbs or supplements and to select reliable brands and products.
Remember: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you add any of these dietary supplements to your heart health plan.
If you find other useful resources, send us an email and we’ll share them with our readers.
Last updated: Monday, February 1, 2016
Return to: FAQ Minerals & Supplements
FAQs: Mineral Deficiencies & Supplements for a Healthy Heart
A-Fib patients often look for non-drug approaches to ease or prevent the symptoms of their Atrial Fibrillation. Here we share answers to the most often asked questions about minerals deficiencies and the use of supplements.
1. Dementia: “I’m scared of getting dementia. Can the right minerals help? I’ve read about the link with A-Fib. What does research reveal about this risk?”
2. Vitamin D: “How can I tell if I’m lacking in Vitamin D? I’m concerned because Vitamin D deficiency has been tied to both A-Fib and Dementia. What is a normal level of Vitamin D?
3. PVCs and PACs: “I have annoying PVCs and PACs with my A-Fib. Are there natural remedies to reduce these extra beats and palpitations? My doctor says to ignore them.”
4. Nutritional Info: “I tried to talk with my doctor about magnesium and other nutritional supplements. His response was ‘There’s no proof that they work.’ Why are doctors so opposed to nutrition as a way of helping A-Fib.”
Related Question: “What’s the best way to take supplements—at the same time each day or spread throughout the day? In one lot or in divided doses?”
Related Question: “Where can I find reliable, unbiased research and information on specific vitamins and supplements? (I want an independent resource, not some site trying to sell me their products.)”
5. BCAA+G: “The supplement BCAA+G helps builds muscle. Is it a natural remedy that could help my A-Fib? Are A-Fib patients BCAA-deficient?”
7. Chelate: “What does ‘chelate’ or ‘chelated formulas’ mean when talking about vitamin and minerals? Is it important?”
8. Magnesium: “Regarding Magnesium, can supplementing and restoring Mg to healthy levels reverse my A-Fib? I’m about to schedule a catheter ablation. But if supplementing can cure my A-Fib, why do an ablation?”
9. CoQ10 “Can I take the supplement CoQ10 while on Eliquis for Atrial Fibrillation? On your site it says CoQ10 could be helpful. But on my bottle of CoQ10, it says “do not take if you are on blood thinners.”
10. Krill Oil: “I’m interested in the supplement, Krill Oil, that has natural blood thinning properties. I’m taking Eliquis for my risk of A-Fib stroke. Is It OK to take Krill Oil along with Eliquis?”